Transforming Rural Women and Youth Life Foundation (TRUWAYLIF) was established in 2013 and registered under the Registrar General’s Department of Ghana with registration number CG051432016 in the year 2016 and operates as a Non – Governmental, Non Profit Organization. The purpose for its establishment was to supporting rural women and youth, who are in serious economic crises. This project is designed to serve as an agency to eradicate poverty in the rural communities.
This initiative was instituted as a result of a research conducted among six (6) selected communities namely, Jegung, Kukuo, Nyeko, Zogu, Savelugu-Yong and Nanton in the Savelugu Nanton Municipality to find out why there is rampant school drop out in the Municipality especially Jegung electoral area where I am an Assembly woman. This actually caught my attention to conduct a research about the matter. The findings of the research proved that majority of the drop outs are children who completed SHS and cannot continue to tertiary because of lack of financial support. The second higher numbers of drop outs are children who completed JHS and cannot proceed to SHS, and there are some who could not even complete the JHS at all due to teenage pregnancy or early marriage. For instance, these victims end up marrying pre-maturely by the influence of traditional pressure, which stresses that they have to marry to produce children once they are not in school. The issue of poverty by which they are unable to go to school becomes a vicious circle because, they produce the children into that same condition which keep on affecting them from generation to generation.
Among the women who were interviewed lamented that, their children dropping out of school is a very big challenge for them and they wish they could find an everlasting solution to the problem. They all attested to the fact that it is as a result of lack of money to pay school fees and to carter for all their educational needs. That they wished they could get the opportunity to find an income generation activities for themselves that can enable them to overcome the situation. This was the reason that gave birth to the idea of creating ‘Mansongsim Saving Association’ in a form of ‘susu contribution’ for the women, which can set as a platform for them to be able to operate their own businesses so that, gradually the challenge can be overcome. The ‘Susu contribution Box’ known as “Adakabila” was first created as a pilot based entity in the selected communities where the interview was conducted but has to be extended to many more communities later, having realized its benefits and the relief it has brought among the women and the youth as some of them could use that as a stepping stone to create small scale businesses such as sheabutter processing, soya milk, soya cake making, soap making, local rice processing, farming, just to mentioned a few.
Today TRUWALIF has instituted the “Adakabila” contributions for about 50 women and youth groups in five MMDAs which are basically rural communities. However, it was still not easy for some of the women and the youth to operate the ‘Adakabilia contributions, because they had the difficulty of getting the money to be contributing weekly. This also prompted TRUWAYLIF to sent a request to Vision Fund Financial Services who are also working with the rural communities by supporting the poor and the needy in some MMDAs to come to our aid by granting our groups with some loans to engage into small scale businesses so that they can always have something to contribute to Adakabila, as a treasure. This money that is contributed into the Adakabila returns back in huge sum at the end of a year. With this, they can be able to pay their wards school fees and take good care of them.
GOAL: The main objective of “eradicating poverty and to facilitate development through job creation and entrepreneurial development in the rural communities”.
1.2: OBJECTIVES OF TRUWAYLIF
- To facilitate development through job creation in agribusiness in the rural communities
- To advocate and sensitize women and youth on gender and leadership issues
- To enhance girl-child education in the rural communities
- To facilitate skills training in youth and women in order to detain them in their own comfort zones
- Advocate on sanitation, health and nutrition through the consumption of our locally made food in both rural and urban communities.
1.3: VISION STATEMENT
Eradication of poverty in the rural communities through self employment as a means of sustainable development.
1.4: MISSION STATEMENT
To provide better living standard for the people in the rural areas by creating avenues of positive transformation.
2.0 OUR APROACH
Transforming Rural Women and Youth Life Foundation (TRUWAYLIF) uses a multi-faceted approach to development. For instance, we deal with different projects such as Agribusiness, Entrepreneurial skills development, Nutrition and Sanitation, education, capacity building and advocacy.
3.0 ORGANIZATIONAL SRUCTURE
The administrative structure of TRUWAYLIF consists of the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors is the highest decision making body of TRUWAYLIF and consists of five members, including three men and two women. The functions of the Board include: guiding the affairs of the Organization in accordance with the laws of the organization and the laws of Ghana.
The Board also Market TRUWALIF to the donor communities and secure funding as basis for ensuring financial security for future development.
They approve budgets, authorize expenditure, Monitor, evaluate and supervise the Executive Board in the performance of their functions.
They also Monitor and ensure transparent and efficient use of the resources and funds.
As a young entity, TRUWAYLIF is currently managing and operates by six (6) permanent working staff. That is; the C.E.O, the operation Manager, Accounts Officer and three other field staff. We also have two volunteers who support from time to time.
4.0 AREAS OF INTERVENTION
4.1: LIVELIHOOD EMPOWERMENT:
4.1.1 Village Savings and Loans
This is done by organizing the people and putting them into groups of 30 and introduces them to the “Adakabila” contribution where each member contributes according to his or her ability. When these contribution is up to 3 months the money in the box is used to loan them to do businesses with it and pay back within 2 -3 months, which attracts some interest while the contribution still goes on. A cash deposit booklet is prepared for them where all entering and records are made so that at the end of the year, the money is given back to them according to the contribution each has made. The interest is also shared among them. Majority of our people who were not having small scale businesses to operate are now having what they could rely on. Some are able to pay their ward’s fees, others are self employed in their own businesses and they are doing well.
4.2: PROMOTING GIRL-CHILD EDUCATION IN THE RURAL AREAS
4.2.1: Provision of educational materials
4.2.2: Organizing sensitization programs
4.2.3: Provision of Educational infrastructure
This particular activity is carried out in the communities in a form of sensitization, enabling every school going child to be enrolled into the school irrespective of the situation on board. We do this by exposing to the people the dangers for lack of education in our society. We are also trying to upgrade the existing Kindergarten and other basic schools with modern technology and materials to enhance their learning abilities and skills. The issue of education is always emphasized as part of our interaction with the women during their meetings for the Adakabila contribution. Here, they are made to understand that until proper education is realized in our communities, poverty cannot be done away with, because education serve as an eye opener for every society, through which developmental project can be sustained. As part of the promotion, TRUWAYLIF has also endeavored to organize 3 workshops for PTA and SMC in 3 different schools in 2014 on poor performance of students in our JHS. This workshop yielded a lot of benefits because it was discovered that in recent times children form groups called ‘Gatos’ where they go to sit in the night leaving their book unattended to. Participants who really expressed their discomfort for those groups in the villages reacted positively in dissolving them gradually.
4.3: WOMEN AND YOUTH EMPOWERMENT
4.3.1: Empowering Women and Youth with Entrepreneurial Skills
On the part of job creation, capacity building workshops have been organizing for the rural women on Village savings and loans, petty trading, food processing, farming (Agribusiness) and creating gender awareness in the rural communities so that they can have some indebt knowledge about how to run a successful business.
AGRIBUSINESSES:TRUWALIF is empowering some women and youth groups to go into agricultural businesses such as animal rearing, crop farming, aggregation, tree planting, food banking, etc which has been yielding positive results. We are doing this because, for the rural man, the only business a woman can run is to be selling in store and because they are unable to afford the store based businesses they are made to only be managing the homes. As an entity, we coupled our campaign awareness with capacity building where we give education on issues like Agribusinesses, where they are made to know that farming can be taken as a business not only for feeding alone.
We also discuss with our groups the dangers of child trafficking or abusing of children, effects of Kayaye and teenage pregnancy which is coming back seriously into the system.
PETTY TRADING: We also obtain some small scale loan for the women and the youth through ‘Vision Fund’ financial services which has been a collaborative partner of TRUWAYLIF since its inception in 2013. Basically, about 40 groups both women and youth including widow’s groups have been benefiting from the loans given by Vision Fund at the moment.
CREATING GENDER AWARENESS: As part of creating gender awareness in the rural communities, it is so obvious in the rural communities’ that women and children are deprived from certain social benefits, which sometimes leads to the inability of some women to exhibits their social rights even when they are in need. Among the lot which TRUWAYLIF focuses on so much is the fact that women don’t take part in decision making no matter what the circumstance. They are only limited to some aspects of issues in their homes where their plights can be heard and recognized or not . But in terms of societal issues they are considered more or less unwise enough to contribute meaningfully to the issue or problem on the table
ADVOCACY;TRUWAYLIF upon realizing the need for change is making an effort for advocacy through public awareness campaigns in the rural Communities and schools Hence, TRUWAYLIF is very careful in packaging our messages and actions. We don’t just come to talk about gender equality like others and which many people in the villages don’t want to hear. Rather, we empower some of the women who have shown some level of potentiality, to undertake ventures which men never thought a woman could do, and at the end the result prove to itself positive.
4. 4: CREATING HEALTH AWARENESS
4.4.1: Encouraging Quality Food and Nutrition for the Rural Children
4.4.2: Encouraging the usage/consumption of our own foodstuff (locally produced foodstuffs)
A few years ago, a research was conducted by Ghana Health Service on the growth and development of a Ghanaian child, which indicated that majority of Ghanaian children are not growing and developing according to their age. That is to say many children in the rural communities are not fed well which always lead to malnutrition, hence detaining their growth and development as well as their understanding in a classroom. In contributing our quota to combat this problem, TRUWAYLIF has set a platform by which parents especially mothers are thought the use of balance diet for their children, among which is the encouragement of the eating of soya beans products such as soya meat / cubab, soya milk, porridge, ‘dawadawa’, oil and other nutritional foods. They are also sensitized on health and sanitation and the eating of hygienic foods. We are also encouraging our groups on personal hygiene by washing of hands with soap under running water in order to prevent an outbreak of Cholera and other diseases in our communities.
5.0 PEACE AND SECURITY:
Transforming Rural Women and Youth Life Foundation attach importance to the existence of peace and security because, peace and security is needed in every aspect of our society to bring development. This is part of TRUWAYLIF area of intervention because we deal with the vulnerable group such as children, women, aged, youth and people with disability in society. Insecurity retards development and affect educational development in the Northern part of Ghana. For example, from 2004 till date we have been experiencing numerous conflicts such as Konkomba and Nanumba war, Bimoba and Konkomba fight and other chieftaincy issues. These conflicts often distracts educational calendar and sometimes the school children are not able to write their B E C E and SSSCE in those affected areas.
TRUWAYLIF operates in some of the affected Districts where there are a lot of conflicts such as chieftaincy conflicts, tribal conflicts, political conflicts and land litigation and others. These types of conflicts have a lot of negatives impact such as hunger and poverty in the lives of the people in those areas. The conflict sometimes led to death of uncountable and innocent people leave behind their family in the suffering.
6.0 YOUTH AND WOMEN IN GOVERNANCE:
Transforming Rural Women and Youth Life Foundation (TRUWAYLIF) is dedicated to ensuring “Civil society, women and the youth are actively demanding democratic governance reforms and their right to equitable economic redistribution, accountable and transparent management of public resources as well as influencing policies and programmes for poverty reduction in Ghana”.
TRUWAYLIF is working to ensure that these target groups are exercising their rights to representation, participation in leadership positions, and influence in decision making processes especially concerning economic redistribution of communal resources and delivery of basic services.
7.0 CLIMATE CHANGE:
Climate change has a lot of negative effect in our society, due to that TRUWAYLIF have seen the need to take it up as one of the areas of intervention. There is a high level of cutting down of trees for agricultural and charcoal burning purposes without planting trees to replace the lose ones which have negative effect on the land and human as well. As a matter of agency, TRUWAYLIF have taken it in to consideration by organizing meetings in our various communities in the Northern Region and educating them on the importance of planting trees after cutting them down to prevent climate change in our environment. We do this because, we advocate for farming as a business for women and youth in the rural communities. For instance, TRUWAYLIF support women and youth SHFs, Agro-processors, vegetable farmers, aggregator’s irrigation farmers and all other aspect of agribusinesses to reduce poverty.
The primary cause of climate change is the burning of charcoal for fuels, which emits greenhouse gases into the atmosphere—primarily carbon dioxide. Other human activities, such as farming and deforestation also contribute to the proliferation of greenhouse gases that cause climate change.
8.0 GENDER AND HUMAN RIGHTS ADVOCACY:
TRUWAYLIF is providing women and girls with equal access to education, health care, skills development, and representation in political and economic decision-making processes for sustainable economies and benefit societies and humanity at large. Implementing new legal frameworks regarding female equality in the workplace and the eradication of harmful practices targeted at women is crucial to ending the gender-based discrimination
TRUWAYLIF in Recent years have seen notable progress on issues of gender and human rights in standard-setting and to some extent application of those standards through international and domestic legislation and jurisprudence, and in institutional programming and development. Some international and regional human rights bodies now go beyond just including ‘women’ in a list of ‘vulnerable’ groups, and have begun to incorporate women’s experiences and perspectives into recommendations for structural changes needed to bring about full enjoyment of human rights by women and girls.
Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world. Unfortunately, at the recent times, 1 in 5 women and girls between the ages of 15-49 have reported experiencing physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner within a 12-month period. Though Ghana has laws that protect women and youth rights, but what we experience is just similar to other countries that have no laws protecting women from domestic violence. Progress is occurring regarding harmful practices such as child marriage and FGM (Female Genital Mutilation), which has declined by 30% in the past decade, but there is still much work to be done to completely eliminate such practices.
PARTNERS AND COLLABORATORS
TRUWAYLIF is currently in partnership with AESN, MADE, Adaptation Fund and informal partnership with Vision fund Ghana, NOYED, Ghana Education Service (G.E.S) and Ghana Health Service.
TRUWAYLIF solicit its funds from benevolent friends, Philanthropic Individuals and the sacrifices of the C.E.O to carry out its projects.
PROJECTS AND WORKSHOPS
VILLAGE SAVINGS AND LOANS
TRUWAYLIF as part of its interventions in eradicating poverty in Northern Region has 50 ” ADAKABILA” /VSLA groups including men and women who are about 30 members in each group agreeing to the terms and conditions per our constitution.
TRUWAYLIF organizes training and education to the groups as to how the contributions are going to be done until the end of the program. This is aimed at reducing poverty in the Northern Region.
TRUWAYLIF in collaboration with Vision Fund has supported some farmer groups with Loans in some communities in the four MMDAs mentioned above. Tractor services were also provided to some peasant farmers who were into the cultivation of rice, maize, soya beans and Groundnuts. This project is aimed at improving livelihood of these peasant farmers to increase in their production.
SUCCESS AND ACHIEVEMENTS
As stated earlier, TRUWAYLIF has succeeded in establishing about 60 groups made up of both youth and women who are into the VSL/ Adakabila savings, farming and petty trading.
Majority of the youth are now having their own businesses running through the support of TRUWAYLIF with the intervention of Vision Fund.
So far TRUWAYLIF has organized some few Capacity building workshops for different groups in some communities in four MMDAs. Namely; Savelugu / Nanton, Sagnarigu, Mion and Gushegu which yielded a lot of benefits.
9.0 CHALLENGES AND CONSTRAINS
Indeed TRUWAYLIF is battling with a lot of challenges which are as follows:
Logistics: The means of transportation is a bigger challenge facing the organization and hindering the smooth running of our work especially for the facilitation of the groups at far/remote villages. Some of the villages we are operating are very far to be reached out to, unless with strong means of transportation (car). Yet, the office still manages with the only old ‘mapuka’ motor bike which breaks down often when used beyond its capacity.
Getting funds to run the workshops is also a bigger challenge, hence causing a lot of setbacks for some of the groups which should have also been benefited. According to the people, the workshops are helping them a lot as it opens up their mind to the reality on the ground that they can do something better for themselves even though they are in the villages.
Salaries: As a newly formed entity, there are neither salaries nor allowances for workers at the moment due to lack of funds. This problem has made the office unable to employ workers for the various responsibilities.
Office equipments: even though we have acquired a temporal structure at the road side to use as an office, equipment to feed the office for better service is still a bigger challenge. The office has no filling system, no strong computer to keep data, no strong office furniture, just to mention a few.
Structure: a piece of land/plot has been acquired by the CEO for the office structure but there are no funds at the moment to raise the structure. The temporal structure that has been rented to us is very small to serve as a fully fledge office.